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Colin Powell 22, U.s. 20, Brooklyn 14, Israel 14, Iraq 12, Us 11, U.n. 9, Lawrence Wilkerson 8, Norman Solomon 7, Wilkerson 7, America 5, United Nations 5, Hezbollah 5, John Brennan 5, Bds 5, Dick Cheney 5, Omar Barghouti 5, Glenn Greenwald 4, Amy Goodman 4, United States 3,
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  WHUT    Democracy Now    Series/Special. Current  
   Events & News in the World  

    February 6, 2013
    6:00 - 7:00pm EST  

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02/06/13 02/06/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> saddam hussain's intentions have never changed. he is not developing missiles for self-defense. these are missiles that are to project power, to threaten, and to deliver chemicals, biological and if we let him, nuclear warheads. >> it was 10 years ago this week, then secretary of state colin powell went to the u.n. to make the case for invading iraq, claiming saddam hussein
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had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. six weeks later, the u.s. attack. the wmd's were never found. today we'll speak with media analyst norman solomon and colorado lawrence wilkerson, "with liberty and justice for some: how the law is used to destroy equality and protect the powerful." 's former chief of staff. >> i have admitted to this a number of times publicly and privately, was the person who put together colin powell's presentation on february, five, 2003. probably the biggest mistake of my life. >> u.s. lawmakers are threatening to cut funding to brooklyn college, this will host a forum to mourn at about the palestinian led campaign to boycott and divest from israel. >> extreme radicals, as i said, basically what the state of israel to disappear from the face of the earth. i have a problem with that. they are sponsoring this event. they're supporting ms. event.
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that is the issue. that is absolutely outrageous. >> we will be joined by one of the speakers at the brooklyn college event, omar barghouti. also, glenn greenwald. another campaign, this went over climate change. students at over 200 campuses are pushing administrators to divest from fossil fuel companies, three schools have already divested. isity college in maine, t hampshire and vermont. we will speak with bill mckibben of 350.org. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a new report has revealed the united states has a secret drone base inside saudi arabia. according to the new york times, the cia first used the base in 2011 to kill the muslim cleric and u.s. citizen anwar al awlaki
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in yemen. the revelation came two days before a senate hearing to confirm counterterrorism advisor john brennan as director of the cia. brennan is a former cia station chief in saudi arabia who reportedly worked closely with the saudis to gain approval for the remote base. the news comes a day after nbc news published a secret justice department memo outlining the obama administration's legal rationale for assassinating u.s. citizens overseas even when there is no intelligence indicating the targeted individual is engaged in an active plot to attack the u.s. on tuesday, white house press secretary jay carney was asked about the assassination program. this is part of his response. >> we have a knowledge united states that sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft for strikes against specific al qaeda terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the nine
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states and seven american lives. we did that those strikes because they're necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats to stop future tax and save american lives. the strikes are legal, ethical, and wise. u.s. government takes great care in deciding to pursue an al qaeda terrorist to ensure precision and to avoid loss of innocent life. >> indonesia, a leading member of the opposition movement has been shot dead in front of his own home. chokri belaid was an outspoken critic of the islamist-led government who criticized tunisian leaders for failing to stop violence by ultraconservative salafis against art galleries and other institutions seen as out of step with their faith. hundreds took to the streets to protest the killing. no one has claimed immediate responsibility. at the six people are dead in the solomon islands after powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that inundated several villages and sparked warnings across the region. at least 100 homes were
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reportedly destroyed in the hard-hit community of lata.. the death toll is expected to rise. a bulgarian officials have announced two members of the lebanese chris hezbollah are suspected of involvement in a bus bombing that killed five israeli tourists and a bulgarian bus driver last july. bulgaria's interior minister said "reasonable assumption" could be made the pair were members of the hezbollah possible to win. hezbollah has denied responsibility for the attack. john kerry said the united states is acting "decisively and comprehensively" to curb hezbollah's impact and urged european governments to "take immediate action to crack down" on the group. the israeli prime minister condemned what he called the terrorist atrocity of the bus bombing in bulgaria. >> six innocent people lost their lives. a further corroboration of what we know that hezbollah and iran
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together are building a worldwide terrorist network. they have attack in dozens of countries and have planned for dozens more. >> president obama meanwhile has announced plans to visit israel in the coming months for the first time since becoming president read he will also visit the west bank and jordan. the announcement comes on hills of an inquiry by the united nations human rights council that found israel is openly flouting international law by continuing the growth of west bank settlements. in britain, lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a measure legalizing same-sex marriage. while the bill has to clear a number of legislative hurdles, prime minister david cameron has announced his intention to see it enacted this summer. cameron voiced his support for same-sex marriage ahead of tuesday's vote. today is an important day. i'm a strong believer in marriage. it helps people commit to each other. i think is right gay people should be a to get married.
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this is about the quality but also making as society stronger. i know there are strong views on both sides of the aisle and i respect respect that. hopes for peace talks to end the conflict in syria have faltered after syrian lawmaker and leading opposition group both rejected the idea. and anti-government opposition leader had indicated he would be willing to sit down with aides of syrian president bashar al- assad, but the syrian national council has distanced itself from the proposal, calling it an individual decision. more than 60,000 people have died since the uprising against al-assad began nearly two years ago. state lawmakers in colorado have unveiled a new gun control plan that would hold the makers and sellers of assault-style weapons legally liable for the damage caused by their products cause.
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the bill could potentially conflict with the federal law shielding manufacturers from liability for crimes committed with their guns. it comes as part of a gun control package announced tuesday that also limits the size of ammunition magazines and universal background checks on all gun sales. new figures suggest gun sales in the u.s. are continuing to soar amid the push for tighter gun control in the wake of the massacre in newtown, connecticut. fbi data shows roughly 2.5 million gun background checks were initiated last month, a nearly unprecedented figure exceeded only by the record number of checks run the month before in december, when the newtown killings took place. one likely reason for the slight dip in gun sales from december to january is that retailers have been running out of guns and are -- the midst of buying talk of gund by control. the fbi conducted more background checks for gun sales
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and permits than in any other one week period since 1998. a florida judge has rejected a bid by george zimmerman to delay his june trough for the murder of the unarmed african-american teenager trayvon martin. zimmerman could face up to 25 years in prison after shooting trayvon martin dead in sanford, florida one year ago this month. zimmerman, who claims he shot trayvon martin in self-defense, was not charged in the killing until months later following nationwide protests calling for his arrest. meanwhile, supporters across florida mourned trayvon martin on tuesday, the day he would have turned 18 years old. in new york city, peoples whose homes were ruined by superstorm sandy gathered on the steps of city hall to call for assistance and denounce squalid living conditions in shelters and hotels where they have been forced to live. thousands of people still remain in temporary housing more than three months after the storm. isaiah douglas laws is one of them. he describe the difficulty of his family's situation.
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>> we need assistance. this is too much for us to handle emotionally and physically. this is a scary situation. if i can ask for one thing, i just want to live in my home peacefully and go to sleep without worrying about anything. >> aid groups joined with evacuated families at the event tuesday to outline a series of demands for assisting low-income people left homeless by sandy. >> there are few things the city can do, first and foremost is to move families from unsafe and unsanitary conditions we have seen that some of these you back to me hotels. the second is to provide immediate services like food and transportation. the most important is to work on a long-term housing situation. >> indigenous leaders from ecuador have traveled to houston, texas to confront the
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ecuadorian government over plans that could see vast tracts of amazon rainforest auctioned off for oil drilling. the group was joined by indigenous leaders and environmentalist from across north america. protesters say the ecuadorean government plans to sell roughly 10 million acres of land in the southeastern ecuadorean amazon without proper consent from the local indigenous peoples. the protesters were joined by indigenous leaders and environmentalist from across north america. president of the achuar nationality was among those who came to texas. >> from ecuador to houston, we have come to claim our rights, to say to the country and the world that the rain forest is not for selling at protecting because it is our mother nature. it is for the indigenous peoples. the rain forest is life. we find everything there. in contrast to the capitalist,
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it is market. for us, it is a market for light. >> u.s. post office will stop delivering mail saturday's under a plan aimed at addressing its financial difficulties. the plan, which would be implemented by august 1, would still see packages and 30 mail delivered six days a week. a new study has found racial bias in ad results from the online search engine google. a harvard professor found names typically associated with african americans were 25% more likely to produce ad results offering background checks and suggesting the person had a criminal record. she conducted the study after a search for her own name and turned up an ad reading -- pakistani schoolgirl attacked by the taliban last year has undergone successful surgery to repair her skull. malala yousafza was left
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seriously wounded when militants shot her in the head for campaigning for the rights of girls. shortly before her operation, she announced the creation of a new foundation to advocate for children. >> today you can see that i am alive. i can see. i can see you. i concede everyone. today, i can see and i'm getting better day by day. it is because of the prayer's of people. because of the people, men, women, children -- all of them have prayed for me. because of these prayers' and because of these prayers, god has given me this new life. this is the second line. i want to serve the people. i want everyone, every girl, every child to be educated. we have organized by fund. >> those are some of the headlines.
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this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. 10 years ago this week, a defining moment occurred in the bush administration's push to invade iraq. on february 5, 2003, then secretary of state general colin powell addressed the and security council and made the case for a first strike attack on iraq. powell presented satellite photographs, tapes of intercepted conversations between iraqi military officers, and information from iraqi defectors and people seized in afghanistan and elsewhere since 9/11. powell's message was clear: iraq possessed extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction and saddam hussein was systematically trying to deceive u.n. inspectors by hiding prohibited weapons. this was part of his presentation. >> one of the most worrisome things that emerges from the intelligence file we have on the biological weapons is the existence of mobile production
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facilities used to make biological agents. that may take you inside that intelligence file and share with you what we know from eye witness accounts, we have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails. the trucks and train cars are easily moved and designed to evade detection by inspectors. in a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount in iraq plan produced in the years prior to the gulf war. >> that was then secretary state colin powell speaking at the you in february 5, 2003. paul estimated iraq had a stockpile between 100 and 500 tons of luck tokens -- agents through the >> most of the media took powell at his word. then york times ran an editorial called "the case against iraq isn't house performance was "all
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the more convincing because he dispensed-- the washington post declared -- the invasion began six weeks after powell made his speech at the landrieu for more we're joined by two people, from oklahoma city, we're joined by colonel lawrence wilkerson, serves as chief of staff to secretary state colin powell from 2002 to 2005 and helped prepare the infamous human speech, which he has since renounced. from san francisco, california, we're joined by norman solomon, wrote the book, "war made easy: how presidents and pundits keep spinning us to death." we welcome you both to "democracy now!" colonel lawrence wilkerson, you really were responsible for putting this speech to gather
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for secretary of state powell. it is 10 years later. what are your thoughts today? where did you get your information? >> first of all, i don't believe the hype about that presentation having been the ultimate presentation, as it were, that led us to war with iraq. george w. bush, dick cheney, and others decided to go to war with iraq long before colin powell gave the presentation. that said, that presentation was a moment in time that convinced a lot of people in america first, and the international community, maybe even on the u.n. security council and one or two cases, that they have been previously long to doubt he of weapons of mass destruction. and it added to the momentum of the war. president bush himself has written in his book that had he known there were no wmd's, he might have made a different
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decision. i don't think richard cheney would have made a different decision. it was not the seminal moment as inessential war, just one of those moments. as one of those moments, as i've said before, i feel like it was the lowest point in my professional and personal life that i had a hand in managing it. >> where did the information come from? explain how you put this together. >> the information came from our intelligence system at the time, the 16 entities that compose our intelligence services, and spoken for by the then master of that intelligence community, george tenet, the director of central intelligence, and vouch ed safe by tomahawk land. it came from a wider array. it came from israel, france, jordan, germany. indeed, it can from almost
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every intelligence service that one time or another had fit into the was process with regard to iraq. frankly, we were all wrong. was the intelligence politicized in addition to being wrong at its roots? absolutely. the leader of that politicization was the vice president of the united states, richard cheney. >> you have talked about how some of the intelligence came from torture. can you tell us about that? >> the seminal moment as we were out at langley and colin powell was getting ready to throw everything out of his presentation that had anything to do with terrorism, that is substantial contacts between baghdad and outside it in particular, he was really angry. he took me in a room by myself and literally attack me over it. i said, boss, let's throw it out. i have as many doubts about it
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as you do, so let's throw it out. we made a decision right there to throw it out. within 30 minutes of the secretary having made that decision and instructed me to do so, george tenet showed up with a bomb shell. the bombshell was that a high- level al qaeda operative under interrogation had revealed substantial contacts between al qaeda and baghdad. in fact, they included al qaeda been trained by the secret police of iraq in how to use chemical and biological weapons. this was a bombshell. only much later did we learn that this information came from al-libi, who was waterboarded, probably in cairo, with no u.s. personnel present. we also learned within days of his have been given this information under torture, he recanted. we also learned the defense intelligence agency having seen that recantation and other data
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about how the information was obtained in the first place had issued a burn notice on it. that is to say, this is worthless and don't pay any attention to it. later, george tenet was a due to a computer glitch, the dia statement not to trust al-libi never was revealed to the secretary. >> i want to turn to a clip from norman solomon's film, "were made easy," about colin powell's address and the media's response. the film is narrated by sean penn. it begins with former president george w. bush for the >> secretary of state house will present information and intelligence about the illegal weapons programs, it tends to hide his weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups. >> the failure of american news needed to check went on the eve of war. colin powell appeared before the
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united nations to make the case that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq. >> saddam hussein's intentions have never change. he is not developing the missiles for self-defense. these are missiles that iraq wants to project power. to threaten, and to deliver chemical, biological, and if we let him, nuclear warheads. >> today secretary of state paul brought the united nations security council seat administration's best evidence so far. >> after the speech to the u.n., immediately the u.s. press applauded with great enthusiasm. >> did colin powell close the deal today in your mind for anyone who has yet objectively to make up their mind? >> i think for anybody who analyzes the situation, he has closed the deal. >> undeniable, incontrovertible evidence today, colin powell
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brilliantly deliver that smoking gun today. colin powell was outstanding today. i don't see how anyone cannot support this effort. >> he made a wonderful presentation and a great case for the purpose of disarmament. >> it was devastating and overcoming. overwhelming abundance of evidence. point after point after point, flooded the terrain with data. >> america has made its case. >> an excerpt from "were made easy." he may recognize some of those namevoices. norman solomon, this is from your film, based on your book, "war made easy: how presidents and pundits keep spinning us to death." you had colin powell pushing for war and as colonel lawrence wilkerson said, he believes what are not the speech were made the u.s. would have to attack iraq. you have the media, which is
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supposed to be the fourth state, not part of the state. talk about its role. >> we just heard colonel wilkerson say that we were all wrong, >> in him from a few minutes ago. in fact, we were not all wrong. as a matter of fact, many experts and researchers from the get go in 2002 were saying that the administration case for weapons of mass destructiony guests on "democracy now!" demolished those claims from the bush administration in real time. the organization where i work, the institute for public accuracy, put many news releases documenting the falsities coming from colin powell's office and the entire administration, including the week he gave his now infamous speech at the united nations. we had u.n. weapons inspectors like scott ritter demolishing
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many of those claims being made, again, in real time. what we've heard again today, and i think is very disappointing, from the former chief of staff of colin powell, is the reiteration of the supposedly this copal tory excuses -- exculpatory excuses for following orders. i condemn what colonel wilkerson said about colin powell's role in the lead up to the war in iraq. we were just following orders. dick cheney made as to a bridge know, dick cheney did not make you do it. there's something called resignation. there's something called speaking out in the first amendment. there are a lot of that adead americans and more iraqis for what took place. one of the most important facts is that 10 years later, an ongoing legacy of colin powell's behavior, and unfortunately our guest as well, and the bush the
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ministration, it is a pattern of impunity. impunity to lie, and petite to deceive and distort, and kennedy that is personal, that is professional and is governmental. and that kind of impunity, which has caused so much death and misery in iraq and afghanistan and elsewhere, is being fast for did, figure to for where we are now. so even today, although what is done is done, we might say, the failure of people like colin powell to step up and say, " looked, and not only was i wrong, but in planning and implementing aggressive war of violated the nuremberg principles." if we could get those kind of statements from these former top officials, we could look at the agenda building for war on iran in a more understanding light. >> colonel lawrence wilkerson, your response?
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>> i don't want to get into an on-screen argument with someone who makes comments as if he has never been in government today in his life were never been associated with power at this level. but i will say first of all that when i said "we" i meant those in government, not people like him or scott ritter or anyone else who were protesting that iraq did not have a wmd at the time. and when you look at the entire situation and understand that the congress of the united states had blessed the october 2002 nie from which powell's presentation emanated, when you look at the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense, the congress, at the american people who in polls showed 7% plus agreed that saddam hussein had wmd -- it is not enough to say that dick cheney and colin powell and others failed in their
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responsibility to the american people or to their own government. there were a lot of people that believed that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. i am not trying to excuse, i'm just saying there were a lot of people who have the same view that colin powell basically presented at the united nations. and those people were in other countries, too. israel, and jordan, germany, france. they shared their intelligence with us and share their views as to whether or not the dci george tenet was right in asserting that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. >> let's get real here. let's get real about this. the public and the media and so many others who did not in terms of journalism serve their basic function were being fed a continuous barrage of messages from dick cheney's office, the white house, from the state department under former general
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powell telling them, insisting that there were weapons of mass destruction. the belief from the public and from the administration. we had the congress passing this green light almost four months before the powell's speech at the u.n. because they had been fed and pushed and pulled and often expediently they went with this story that had been peddled through the mass media. we had so many networks and newspapers, including "new york the post" that werepost fed by the administration. now to say it was not just us that the administration, but other people believed it, people did so because the or propagandized by the administration with massive assistance from the mass media. today we have to look at the reality that we are in a
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repetition compulsive disorder cycle. after powell spoke at the u.n., susan rice, the u.n. ambassador from the united states, in the lee praised it as a statement from powell that proved weapons of mass destruction in iraq. we had bogus hearings from now vice-president joe biden who chaired the senate foreign relations committee excluding testimony from those who had contrary information that would challenge the push to war. we have had john kerry, now secretary of state, who voted for and propagandized on national television for the invasion of iraq. so let's look at where we are. tomorrow, a hearing for -- >> making my point. a >> john brennan being pushed for cia director, engaging in the use of drones and so forth. my colleagues at rootsaction.org are asking people to sign up to challenge that nomination. >> colonel lawrence wilkerson?
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>> you're making my point. i find it difficult in the whole say that all those entities you describe, to include the american people, were led down the primrose path by the propaganda flowing out of the white house and the congress and elsewhere. that presents a picture of a pretty blind apathetic bigger public, representatives in the government, and elsewhere. i cannot support that kind of broad brush painting of the situation. >> there was a million people in the streets protesting. >> where did they get it, from their everyday lives? did they get from their pta? >> they got it from the same place a lot of people and the government got it, was that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction, had used them against his own people. no one thought he would get rid of them since his number one enemy, iran, was kept at bay
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certainly in part because he possessed them. i think there was a pretty good feeling across the world, not just in the united states, that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. by the way, there is no question in anyone's mind, i don't think, that once the international sanctions were on saddam hussein and was the international focus was off of him, he would go right back to building weapons of mass destruction again including a pursuit of a nuclear weapon. let's not make this too much of essentially a comedy on the american people. >> it is not at all. it is an accurate accusation that the administration of george w. bush colin powell -- >> you thought for yourself, why can americans think for themselves? why were you influential in bringing the american people to believe what you believe? >> look, --
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>> i want to cut in here and read from the memo. >> we know it was the case. >> norman solomon, i want to read from the memo. >> or send a note, the son-in- law -- >> let's step back and look at what we knew at the time. there was a leaked document from the government did i want to get the response on this from colonel wilkerson. this is the internal records of the british government from the memo. it says -- president bush wanted to remove saddam through military action, justify the convention and tourism and wmd. the intelligence and facts are being fixed around policy. basically, the government official in britain reporting that the bush administration from as early as 2002 was set on war. lawrence wilkerson? fox i think that is a fair approximation. of course, i did not know that at the time, nor did secretary
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powell led that at the time, with respect to the specific comments from the british. but having studied with the british did, what prime minister blair did, what others did associated with this war, i was first impressed by the with the british were going after accountability for their part in it. i am now depressed by the five the board seems to have been indefinitely postponed. i was eagerly awaiting reading it because i think the british have an even bigger problem than we do in terms of the way the parliamentary government with the party and a majority like they had not seen in years lead that country to war unless that country were basically on the prime minister's assertions fed by the intelligence community in the u.k. that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. even with such dramatic, said they could be used within 45 minutes -- that they could be used within 45 minutes.
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the u.k. in this business with the u.s., despite the special relationship, bothers me as a citizen, as in a mirror of the british. >> you heard the administration use phrases like "we cannot wait for a smoking gun to become a mushroom cloud." howl as well as colonel wilkerson and others of the top of the administration known or should have known that that was extreme to push as propaganda trying to stampede the country into war. these are real intelligent people running the state department and white house. they are very savvy. if we at the institute for public accuracy and many other independent researchers could point out in real time that these wmd claims from the u.s. government were full of holes and had no credibility, why couldn't these agencies with
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multibillion-dollar budgets and a lot of brain trust come clean? the fact is, they did not want to come clean. they were part of the war propaganda apparatus. >> i don't disagree with what you does said. i don't disagree there should have been a hell of a lot better job done by what is now a 65 plus billion dollar intelligence community and incidentally, i don't think it is doing a much better job today than it did then. dollars do not by u.s. intelligence. but the same time, let me just say i did not say a single one of your reports. nobody called me. >> you did not bother. i was on national tv talking about it. [speaking over each other] >> why didn't you? >> hey, we were putting out news releases every day. if you would have taken my call, you would have been knocked over
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with a feather critic rex you did not call. >> are you saying colin powell would have met with us to talk about this information? it was not secret. >> we met with a number of people. [speaking over each other] >> that him respond. colonel wilkerson, i think he made the point earlier that when you said that norman solomon clearly was not in government, suggesting that you don't know what it is like to be in the bubble that we are in when we are there, is what i heard you saying. when you say, how come you did not come to us? what is it like to be in that bubble? especially as you reflect back and see the direction you went and regret it. >> let me describe that bubble to you for what i perceive to be the bubble around president of america right now. the man he is nominated to be cia director, john brennan. what is happening with drone
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strikes around the world right now is, in my opinion, as bad a development as many of the things we now condemn so readily with high set in the george to the bush administration. we are creating more enemies than we are killing. we're doing things that violate international law, even killing american citizens without due process and have an attorney general that has says due process does not necessarily include the legal process. those are scary words. these things are happening because of that bubble that you just described. you cannot get through that bubble. you cannot get through the brennans and the clappers and the hillary clintons and the bob gates and leon panettas and penetrate the bubble inside, do you understand what you're doing both to american civil liberties and the rest of the world's appreciation of america with these increased drone strikes that seem to have an endless
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vista for future? this is incredible. and yet i know how these things happen. i know how these bubbles create themselves from the president and cease and stop any kind of information getting through that would alleviate or change the situation, make the discussion more fundamental about what we're doing in the world. >> colonel lawrence wilkerson, your against the confirmation of john brennan as director of central intelligence? >> i think we ought to have a really, really hard discussion about what he represents and what -- because he represented, will probably take to the directorship of the cia. >> we will leave it there. >> i would like to invite colonel wilkerson to go to rootsaction.org and sign up for action alerts today to challenge the nomination of john brennan to run the cia, and just to mention the impunity of the past is prefigure to four impunity of the present and
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future. i hope you'll join was so many millions of other americans to actively and vocally opposed not only this nomination of brennan, but also the entire so-called war on terror, which is impunity for war that is aggressive around the world. >> colonel wilkerson, could you see yourself doing that? >> i am already doing it. >> thank you for being with us, colonel lawrence clarkson, served as chief of staff to colin powell from 2002 to 2005, and norman solomon, co- founder of rootsaction.org. among his books, "war made easy: how presidents and pundits keep spinning us to death." this is "democracy now!" we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> the israel-palestine conflict is one of many issues with controversy on college campuses. and what could be a first, a showdown over a public event featuring a palestinian author and a jewish-american professor is leading to threats of one school losing its funding. it is happening here in new york city. and thursday night, brooklyn college is set to host a forum with two members of the bds movement, a non-violent campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction the israeli government until it complies with international law. the brooklyn college political science department is among the event's co-sponsors. in response, a group of new york city council members has threatened brooklyn college with the potential loss of taxpayer support. >> a joint letter from 10 council members to brooklyn college says --
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the councilmembers' threat is just one of several efforts by new york lawmakers, from congress on down, to pressure brooklyn college. speaking of brooklyn college last week, new york state assembly member dov rivikind called on ministers to remove the school's sponsorship. >> extreme radicals who basically what the state of israel to disappear from the face of the earth. i've got a problem with that. they are sponsoring this event. they are supporting this event. that is the issue. and that is absolutely outrageous. >> in response to the criticism, brooklyn college president karen gould is refusing to cancel the event or withdraw the school's sponsorship. we're joined by one of the speakers at the brooklyn college event, omar barghouti, founder member of the bds movement and author of, "boycott, divestment, sanctions: the global struggle for palestinian rights." by glenn joined
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greenwald through videostream, author of, "with liberty and justice for some: how the law is used to destroy equality and protect the powerful." he has written extensively about the brooklyn college controversy over the last week. we invited a number of new york lawmakers who've opposed the bds event to come on the broadcast, but they declined our request, including congressmember jerold nadler and councilmember brad lander, and state assembly member dov rivikind. let's go first to omar barghouti. what do plan to say tomorrow night? parts of a plan to explain why the bds movement is not an attack. it follows the civil-rights movement in this country and the apartheid movement in south africa, calling for equal rights and an end to the occupation and calling for respect international law. there's nothing to odious about that it is just when we talk about palestinian rights that some people are try to criminalize and make it completely unacceptable speech to address palestinian rights
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under international law. >> let's go to david greenfield speaking last week, using a dictionary to denounce the school's sponsorship of the bds event, which he called part of a "hate filled, antisemitic, pro terrorist movements climbed the president of the university should be familiar with the basic meaning of words. the word sponsorship according to the dictionary means one who vouches or is responsible for another thing. so it really is intellectually dishonest that the administration turn around and say, we're only sponsoring the event. that means we're only vouching for this event, only responsible for this hate-filled, antisemitic, pro-terrorist movement. >> that was david greenfield saying a was a hate filled approach-terrorist movement. >> i think is exactly the new
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mccartism we are seeing. they're making it absolutely forbidden to speak about palestinian rights and to attack israeli policies. it is done in a mccarthy is way that is suppressing free speech and trying to suppress academic freedom. any attempt to say calling for a boycott of israel is anti- semitic is an anti-semitic statement because it is making israel and the entire jewish existence one in the same. it is saying all jews are the same, all of them support israel, and israel speaks for them rich and that ignores the mass of diversity among jewish opinion around the world. plus it opposes every form of racism, including antisemitism. this is not the position we have shied away from. we are very explicit. >> york a speaker at the event? judith butler, aa
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very prominent speaker, as advocated for bds and has a lot of questions, debates related to bds, what we're calling for and how we are applying it, especially how we are applying it. very few people would disagree that ending racial discrimination in israel would mean the u.n. definition of apartheid and the rights of refugees under international law should be respected. it is how we get there and we're trying to explain to more that bds is about academic boycott, economic boycott, that addresses the state of israel, complicit institutions and corporations in order to end those forms of violations of human rights. >> glenn greenwald, you have been writing extensively about this. talk about the pressure that the college president of brooklyn college has not backed away from supporting her department in supporting this
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event that will be happening tomorrow night. >> which is an extraordinarily brave and commendable thing for her to have done, given how much extreme pressure has been brought to bear by new york city officials. i think this is the key point. regardless of what you think about the sanctions or the bds movements, there are reasonable debates that can and should take place on that, whatever your view is of that movement in this event, it is infinitely more dangerous to have a rule that says that academic institutions and professors and political science departments are only permitted to uphold academic events as long as it does not raise objections of people liked jerold nadler or others, or worse, provoked threats as we have seen for many new york city council members to have the funding for the college terminated if this even
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proceeds. it recalls the worst excess of rudy guiliani's the ministration the threat have funding terminated for the brooklyn museum of art for the crime of exhibiting art that he as the mayor found offensive. the federal court said that was a profound violation of the first amendment and to court liberties breed that is what is taking place now with the threat to brooklyn college all in order to shield and support criticisms of israel. >> omar barghouti, this is not your first icy welcome in the u.s. you came here for a speaking tour and had a problem getting a visa for several weeks. i believe it took a public campaign to secure the visa. now you're here and there is this huge campaign to catch your event, the are receiving unlikely support. there was a "new york times" editorial supporting freedom of speech. do you think public opinion is
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shifting when it comes to bds? >> i absolutely think so. bds is spreading across campuses. many activist groups, feminists, antiwar movements, lgbt are joining the campaigns and the u.s. there are many campaigns on campuses. there is a major shift among a number of jewish americans. i have seen a steady shift of younger jewish american opinion in support of bds and palestinian rights. i think that is raising alarm bells in the zionist establishment among the israel lobby figures in the u.s. >> you have worked with jewish groups in the u.s.? >> absolutely. several jewish groups have supported bds and some have not, but are working on bds-related campaigns. there are many groups that have
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joined bds campaigns and are doing excellent work to pressure pension funds to divest from companies profiting from the occupation and get college campuses to divest their funds as well for these corporations. a >> do you sense that shift in the media, glenn greenwald, as you read broad coverage of the issue, in particular, the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement? what i think there is a paradox that in one sense, as public opinion turns against the action of the israeli government as they become more extremist, more ultra-nationalist, were committed to the oppression of the palestinian, you do see more desperation on part of those who want to exclude and stigmatize all criticism with more extreme behavior like you saw, for example, in the confirmation hearing of chuck hagel would essentially tried to pillory him and turned into a terrorist supporter, just like the council and we heard from
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earlier, because he questioned the actions, but i think the harm that comes from suppressing the debate over israel and that comes from the steadfast line support for the israeli government by the u.s. has become so obvious, that more and more people are not openly questioning these issues. i think you see in the me a much greater tolerance for entertaining a wider range of yous. i think the internet and shows like yours have shown that by [indiscernible] just a few years ago, these ideas were considered taboo. i think things are headed in the right direction. i think those defending this is indicative of that. years ago it would have been very lonely but now it is much more mainstream position. >> thank you both for being with us, omar barghouti, one of the
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founding members of bds, non- violent campaign to boycott, divest, sanction israel until it complies with international law. his book is called, "boycott, divestment, sanctions: the global struggle for palestinian rights." and glenn greenwald, columnist and blogger for the guardian, author of, "with liberty and justice for some: how the law is used to destroy equality and protect the powerful." when we come back, we will look at another divestment campaign, divesting from fossil fuel companies. we will be joined by bill mckibben. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> we end today's show looking at a different divestment campaign, this one about climate change. in recent months, college students and over 200 campuses have begun pushing administrators to the best from fossil companies. on tuesday, sterling college in vermont announced it will soon become the third college in the u.s. to divest its endowment from 200 fossil fuel companies identified by the environmental group 350.org. the college in maine and massachusetts for the first two schools to the best. >> for more, we're joined by the author of 350.org, bill mckibben.
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last june he wrote an influential article for rolling stone. welcome back to "democracy now!" you're just coming from cooper union last that or the place was packed, this historic building where president lincoln spoke. what were you talking about? >> this burgeoning the best bet movement. it has been kind of amazing to watch in the last six weeks as the number of campuses has mushroomed to the point of 230 campuses that this is said to maybe the larger student movement in several decades. it can quickly out of nowhere. in another sense, last year was the hottest year we have ever seen in america. we watched the drought, we watched sandy. i think it is no surprise that young people are starting to say, we got to spend another 60, 70 years on this planet so we better do something fast. and that something means standing up to the fossil fuel
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industry that has been in the way of rational change for a quarter-century. >> what do mean by divest from fossil fuel companies? we have a list of 200 companies with the largest carbon reserves in the world. the argument in the rolling stone article in this tour will get around the country was that these companies now have this -- this interest has five times the amount of carbon in its reserves as the most conservative scientists on earth said we would be safe to burn. want to know the numbers, there's no doubt about how the story comes out and as we rewrite the script, if we follow their business plan, the planet tanks. that is why there is this upsurge, not only around investment, but around things like the fight against the keystone pipeline. we're going back to washington for the biggest climate rally probably ever in this country a week from sunday on the mall in
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d.c. it is coming fast, and it has got to, fast, this movement, because unlike other problems we face, there's a time limit on this one. if we don't get it right soon, we don't get it right at all. >> what is so than it wanted to around keystone xl? he put it off until after the election, and now spring. >> i believe what will happen will depend entirely on what kind of movement we build. my sense of washington is that when you push sometimes things happen read it to 1253 people going to jail to slow down this northern portion of the keystone pipeline. it will take a real effort to stop it. but that real effort is being made by people in all 50 states and by our brothers and sisters in canada. it has been exciting to watch. something is building. i am not certain that it is
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building fast enough to catch up to the physics of climate change. watching as campuses, watching those kids, it is awfully exciting. >> obama has delayed his decision twice. do you think that is linked to these protests you have been involved in? >> it was said the other day, this was a done deal 18 months ago. we have managed to make it come undone for a while, and in the process, kept 400 million barrels of oil in the ground that otherwise would have gone out to. that is worth going to jail for, but it is not one to stop global warming. we have got to stop leaving carbon permanent in the ground. >> what is planned for the rally? >> it is exciting. you can google the information and find out all the logistical details. >> bill mckibben, thank you for being with us from 350.org, author of, "with liberty and justice for some: how the law is used to destroy equality and protect the powerful." "eaarth: making a life on a tough new planet." [captioning made possible by
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